April 12, 2006

Annals of Retarded Research, Vol. 233,557

From Netscape What's New:

"You're in the grocery store, mindlessly stocking your cart. You notice a child--all alone and wandering down the aisle. Get a good look at that kid's parents and chances are they're ugly."

Man, you're telling me. Why are people like that even allowed to have kids?

"That's the controversial conclusion reached by social scientist Andrew Harrell, director of the Population Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta…

'Unattractive parents are less likely than attractive parents to supervise their children closely,' Harrell told The Edmonton Journal. 'They have their own personal concerns and they have less time to be attentive to their children... They are in such physical and psychological misery they are not there'."

Harrell (pictured left) first conceived of his theory after his own complexion, ruddy as an alcoholic whaler, left him so oblivious to the world around him that he accidentally pummelled a three-year-old in the kidney with a meat tenderiser.

Harrell's "study" showed that 16 percent of 'ugly' parents lost sight of their children at least once, compared to only 10 percent of attractive parents (of course, nowhere does anybody report what the margin of error is, though typically in samples of this size it's about 3 percentage points either way-- so both groups could theoretically lose sight of their children 13 percent of the time).

"I'm appalled. We've always believed it was a failure of shopping carts, but it's the parents, crappy parenting."

Harrell then corrected himself: "Crappy, UGLY parenting."

Plans to extend the research in the future include studying whether or not fugliness has a similar effect on parenting.


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